Turnbull’s Economic Policy Speech To CEDA Disrupted By Refugee Protesters

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s speech to CEDA today was interrupted by a group of refugee protesters.


Turnbull was addressing the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, in Melbourne, on economic policy. The female protesters gained entry to the event by posing as members of the press. About ten minutes into the speech, they began yelling and waving banners that called for the closing of offshore refugee detention camps. One woman stood on the stage near Turnbull with a poster that read: “FFS Close the Bloody Camps”. The protesters were quickly dispersed and evicted from the event.

Turnbull’s speech contained little new. It centred on the government’s commitment to Budget repair and its election campaign themes of innovation and science, investment in the defence industry, trade agreements and taxation.

The Prime Minister said: “In the upcoming sittings, we will introduce an Omnibus Bill that puts together all the Government’s savings measures that we understand from the election campaign the Labor Party is prepared to support.” [Read more…]

Martin Ferguson Calls For Further Industrial Relations Reform; Urges Union Rethink

Martin Ferguson, the former resources minister in the Rudd and Gillard governments, says the Abbott government needs to go further than its “modest” reforms to the Fair Work Act.

In a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, Ferguson, now the chairman of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, says the current industrial relations system is sending jobs offshore. “We must get serious about closing the competitive gap that has opened up between Australia and our rivals,” he said.


The Fair Work Act was the creation of the Rudd government in 2009. The legislation was introduced by the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard.

In his speech, Ferguson says: “The objectives of the Fair Work Act need to be examined to make sure they truly reflect the need for Australia to be internationally competitive.”

He added: “It is time that some in today’s union leadership recognised that their members’ long-term interests are aligned with their long-term job security.”

Three weeks after leaving Parliament at last year’s election, Ferguson was appointed Chairman of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association. Critics of his comments today describe him as an oil and gas industry lobbyist.

On its website, the association says: “The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association is the peak national body representing Australia’s oil and gas exploration and production industry. It has more than 80 full member companies. These are oil and gas explorers and producers active in Australia. APPEA members account for an estimated 98 per cent of the nation’s petroleum production. APPEA also represents more than 250 associate member companies that provide a wide range of goods and services to the upstream oil and gas industry.”

Prior to being elected to parliament in 1996, Ferguson spent his early working life as an official of the Miscellaneous Workers’ Union. He was President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions between 1990-96. He served in the Rudd and Gillard cabinets as Minister for Resources and Energy from 2007 until his resignation in March last year at the time of the stillborn challenge to Julia Gillard’s leadership.

Text of Martin Ferguson’s speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

Competitiveness of the Australian gas industry

Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you.

Today, I will discuss the Australian oil & gas industry and our national economy.

I will outline the industry’s widely underestimated contribution to our national prosperity and how in coming years it can contribute even more to our economic security. [Read more…]

Tony Abbott State Of The Nation Address To CEDA

Tony Abbott says there will be “an instantaneous adrenaline charge in our economy” if there is a change of government later this year.

In a speech to the Committee for Economic Development in Sydney, Abbott said: “There will be an instantaneous surge of confidence because an incoming government will understand that simple truth that business is the source of prosperity, business is the source of economic growth and it will want to work with business rather than against business in boosting the prosperity of every Australian.”

Abbott [Read more…]

Julia Gillard: This Is My Vision For The Nation

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has outlined her “vision for the nation”, an economic future beyond the mining boom that positions Australia as a flexible market economy, highly skilled, high-tech, and low-pollution.

Julia GillardOutlining her vision in a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, in Melbourne, Gillard spoke of the benefits and challenges of the mining boom. She described a high participation, high productivity economy, a “stable macroeconomy, creating certainty for economic decision making.”

She stressed the need for flexible markets, skills, infrastructure, research and development and entrepreneurship. “With courage and imagination, we can build a high-skill, high-tech, low-pollution economy that will succeed independent of our mineral wealth. That is my vision for the nation. A fundamental reshaping of the Australian economy as profound in scale and ambition as the reforms of the Hawke-Keating government, which opened our economy to the world.” [Read more…]